The French actor died at the age of 84. The son of Pierre Brasseur and the novelist Odette Joyeux, received two Césars for comedy An elephant cheats a lot in 1977 and for The Police War in 1980.
He could play with the same ease the facetious valet Sganarelle of the Dom juan of Molière that the devious Minister Fouché of Supper by Molinaro. Claude Brasseur, actor from father to son as he liked to present himself, died Tuesday at the age of 84. “Claude Brasseur died that day in peace and serenity surrounded by his family. He was not a victim of the Covid. He will be buried in Paris in accordance with sanitary rules and will rest alongside his father in the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris ”, announced Elisabeth Tanner, head of the Time Art agency.
Born Claude Espinasse, heir to an illustrious dynasty of acrobats – since his great-grandfather Jules Drumont, alias Jules Brasseur, founder of the Théâtre des Nouvelles in 1878 – the godson of the American writer Ernest Hemingway, he could not have remain as the son of Pierre Brasseur, one of the greatest actors in French cinema. It did not happen. Popular figure in the noble sense of the term of the seventh art, he will have embodied with tremendous accuracy, of course, the sensitive Daniel of the inseparable quartet of friends ofAn elephant cheats a lot and of We will all go to heaven but also the historical character of Fouché, the intimate enemy of Talleyrand-Claude Rich in The diner (1992), which depicted the Machiavellian power struggles of Napoleon’s Ministers of Police and Foreign Affairs.
The TV series Vidocq makes him famous
Child of the ball, paradoxically, Claude Brasseur hesitates at the beginning of his career between the boards, journalism – he signs a few articles for Paris Match – and bobsleigh. In this discipline only a nasty injury prevented him from participating in the 1964 Winter Olympics.
Despite this youthful indecision, he played in 1955 at the theater in Judas by Marcel Pagnol. In 1959, he was one of the young beginners, with Roger Dumas and Marie-José Nat, elected to give the reply to Jean Gabin in Rue des Prairies by Denys la Patellière. The sacred monster is a friend of his father, Pierre. He watches her. He retains his way of saying Audiard’s dialogues, his way of moving on a set. This lesson he will never forget.
A year later, in Distractions he tours with his friend, Jean-Paul Belmondo. The film is not unforgettable, but the outings with Bébel are. One evening, they buy firecrackers in a joke shop. Schoolchildren in hell they are going to make them explode under the windows of the director Jacques Dupont, then member of the OAS, who believes in an attack. The two actors laugh like hunchbacks. United by the joy of living, their friendship will never end.
Despite remarkable supporting roles gleaned during the 1960s, it was the small screen that made him famous. After having camped magnificently Sganarelle facing a Michel Piccoli, also perfect in the role of Dom Juan, the director of the adaptation of Molière’s play Marcel Bluwal entrusts him with the role of François Vidocq in 1970. In the costume of this convict who became a chief of security with methods as effective as they were unorthodox, his slaughter is marvelous. The great cinema which until then has only entrusted it with supporting roles will finally begin to employ it to its fair value.
In 1974 on the advice of Alain Delon, Georges Lautner gave him a job to his measure in Ice Breasts. He plays a novelist who finds in the mysterious Peggy, played by Mireille Darc, the character traits of the anti-heroine of the screenplay of his book. By its own admission, after this film, which was a great success in esteem, French cinema for thirteen years would only entrust it with leading roles.
Two Caesar and a Paris-Dakar
César for Best Supporting Actor the following year with An elephant cheats a lot, he received the supreme statuette in 1980 for his interpretation of Commissioner Fush in Police War by Robin Davis, where he once again finds his indispensable alter ego Claude Rich, before the triumph of Supper. He also embodies Sophie Marceau’s father in one of the greatest commercial successes of the time, The party. Nothing can stop it. He took advantage of these years when everything was successful for him to devote himself to his passion for motor racing, he won the Paris-Dakar rally as co-pilot of Jacky Ickx three years later, in 1983.
In 1992, to the great pleasure of the French public, the bandAn elephant reform in The Pest Ball. They are all there, again under the direction of Yves Robert: Victor Lanoux, Guy Bedos and Jean Rochefort and of course Claude, who over time has become the indispensable baladin of the French scene. At the theater he triumphs by playing Sacha Guitry with his son Alexandre Brasseur in My father was right. He created The dinner of idiots by Francis Veber in 1993 with the late Jacques Villeret in the role of François Pignon.
In 2006, the youngest viewers will have the chance, in turn, to appreciate all the talent of Claude Brasseur. Fabien Onteniente transforms him into a nice irascible beauf in the first episode of his saga Camping. Jacky Pic, married to Laurette Pic alias Mylène Demongeot, unspeakable subscriber to the “17” spot of Les Flots Bleues, is an essential element of the film’s humorous vein. A character that he will have composed to perfection like Sganarelle, like Fouché, like Vidocq … to have the right to go and find one of the most famous in another world. Children of Paradise, his adored father, Pierre Brasseur.
● Ice Breasts by Georges Lautner in 1974, with Claude Brasseur, Mireille Darc, Alain Delon …
● The diner by Édouard Molinaro in 1992, based on the play by Jean-Claude Brisville, with Claude Brasseur, Claude Rich, Ticky Holgado …
● Children of Paradise by Marcel Carné, screenplay by Jacques Prévert, in 1945, with Arletty, Maria Casarès, Pierre Brasseur, Jean-Louis Barrault …